The sound gives it away — a distinct, whirring and metallic noise as a dozen steel rollers spin across a thick cable.
Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure is a high-wire act that lets you soar over treetops and leave all your troubles behind.
Before soaring in the sky, riders first gear up for safety. Zip line guides Steve Carlino and Katie Fawkes show the ropes of handling a harness and helmet before leading participants up a short trail to Zipline #1.
We walk toward the first zip line, called “Bunny Hop,” which offers newcomers a short practice ride to get the feel of the flight. Carlino, a 10-year zipping veteran sports a beaming smile and says, “Our biggest rule for the day is to have fun, guys!”
It’s hard not have a blast when you ride across 2,700 feet of high-wire zip lines through scrub oak and pine trees in the arid climate of Jackson County, just outside Gold Hill.
After our small troop of zippers, led by Fawkes, rides the practice run without a slip, our leader says, “Okay the easy part is done. Now we zip above the canopy of trees and enjoy the views we were talking about earlier. Welcome to Southern Oregon!”
The zipping speed can reach 50 miles an hour or more. Carlino says that’s a fact not lost on some first-timers, “We do get some folks who are a bit nervous about both speed and height. They’ll say, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this,’ but by end of the run they say ‘Wow, let’s get going. I want more.'”
Each of the lines — which are numbered 1-5 and get progressively longer and higher — allow the zippers to gain more and more confidence.
Katie says she loves it when she hears the zippers scream “because I know they are out of their comfort zone. I was out of my comfort zone when I first tried it too, but that’s when amazing things happen. I grew and gained more confidence. I’ve been guiding here ever since!”
Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure is brainchild of owner Lindsey Rice who zipped her first high wire in Hawaii. As she flew through the air above Oahu, she thought, “We’ve got better views back in Oregon!”
Six years ago she built the Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure across 83 acres that she owned. The longest zip line is over a quarter mile long and takes advantage of something special. “Oh, it’s all about the views — they are beautiful,” notes Rice. “You look down and across to both the Upper and Lower Table Rocks; you can see Mount McLoughlin and even the rim of Crater Lake.”
Newcomer Jessica Sites agrees, “I almost wish I could have stopped in the middle of the last run to admire the scenery … sort of hang out for a bit and check it out — it was gorgeous.”
Best of all, Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure is open to everyone. “We are ADA-friendly,” says Rice. “We do whatever we can to accommodate all folks who come out. They may be in wheelchairs or they may be blind — even grandmothers in their 90’s can go zipping with her grandkids. We encourage the entire family to come out and enjoy this fun activity together.”